Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon had a sleepy opening last week accumulating a modest $1m (HK$7.1m) from 44 screens in its first eight days on release. Despite the presence of Hong Kong star Chow Yun-fat and the popular Michelle Yeoh, this only gave Crouching Tiger a screen average of $22,727 per screen. Its opening day gross on July 6 was similarly disappointing, grossing $0.1m (HK$1,099,370) from 42 screens.
The mediocre box office of the Columbia TriStar and Edko co-production has been attributed to a lack of hype as well as the film's weighty themes which will only appeal to a more mature audience.
Although Crouching Tiger briefly occupied the top spot during its opening week, it fell to third place when Disney's Dinosaur thundered its way to number one, taking $256,410 (HK$2,077,953) across 39 screens on its opening day, Thursday July 13.
Still holding steady in the Hong Kong chart is China Star Entertainment's sleeper hit Needing You, which has maintained the number two position since it opened on June 23. Drawing $3.5m (HK$28m) over 21 days, Johnnie To's office romance starring Andy Lau is pulling in the kind of numbers that are rarely seen in local films in the post-Asian crisis film market.
With its release timed with the start of the summer holidays, Needing You grabbed $217,949 (HK$1.7m) on 32 screens on its opening day thanks to a large teenage audience. After four weeks on release the film is still playing on 27 screens, and is expected to close in on the $5.3m (HK$41m) set by Stormrider after 8 weeks on release in 1998.
However Mission: Impossible 2 continues to be the highest grossing film of the summer - and possibly of all time - after raking in $4.3m (HK$33.7m) over 22 days. M:I2 edged out Jurassic Park: Lost World for the record for the highest opening day box office gross for a non-domestic film. The John Woo film took in $0.44m (HK$3.4m) compared to the record of $0.42m (HK$3.3m) set by the Jurassic Park sequel in 1997.